Three Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

If you can find a little extra time or some additional help in the kitchen this Thanksgiving, we encourage you to branch out and experiment with some non-traditional recipes. Don't scrap the classics like an oven baked turkey and stuffing, simply add these to the menu. Here are three of our favorites.  Be sure to check out our Thanksgiving Wine Guide for 2013

Honey Brined Smoked Turkey

Ingredients: 1 gallon hot water, 1 pound kosher salt, 2 quarts vegetal broth, 1 pound honey, 1 bag of ice, vegetable oil

Directions: Combine hot water and salt in a large cooler and mix until salt is dissolved. Stir in vegetable broth, honey, and ice. Place the turkey breast side up in the brine and cover overnight (up to 12 hours). If you want make sure that you have a juicy bird on Thanksgiving day, you should really take the time to brine it.

Remove the turkey from the brine and dry off completely. Rub turkey with vegetable oil. 

Heat your charcoal grill or smoker to 325 degrees and add hickory wood chips (soak wood chips for at least an hour before) to the fire. Set the turkey breast down over indirect heat and above a drip pan to catch the juices. Placing the turkey breast down is a lesser know trick that helps the breast, generally the most dry part of the turkey, remain moist throughout the cooking process. Once the turkey is golden brown (after an hour or so) cover with foil, also add more soaked hickory wood chips. At this temperature, the turkey should take about 12 minutes per pound to cook (a 15 pound turkey should take about three hours).

Once the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 160 degrees, remove the bird from the grill and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving. Also, check out this awesome video by Whole Foods to learn how to properly carve a turkey!

Wine Pairing & Other NotesFor this delicious smoked turkey, check out the Lucas and Lewellen Pinot Noir. It's from Santa Barbara where it tends to be a little warmer leading to riper fruit and great Pinot flavor. The bold fruit flavor in the wine will cut through the hickory smoke of this unique version of a Thanksgiving classic.


Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients: 24 mini hawaiian rolls, 2 lbs shaved ham, 12 slices swiss cheese, 3/4 cup butter, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons dried onions

Directions: You'll need two 9 x 13 pans. Place the bottoms of 12 rolls in each pan. Evenly distribute shaved ham and swiss cheese across the rolls. Place the tops of the buns on. 

In a small sauce pan, mix butter, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dried onions. Once butter has melted pour the mixture over the sandwiches (this may seem weird but it's delicious). Sprinkle buns with poppy seeds and cover with foil. For best results, refrigerate overnight. Uncover the sandwiches and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. These are perfect to snack on all day long before the the turkey's ready.

Wine Pairing & Other Notes: Pair these flavorful sandwiches with the Anaba Turbine Red Blend. This versatile red wine is the perfect complement to the sweet hawaiian buns and salty shaved ham. This may sound like an unusal Thanksgiving day pairing but we promise you will not regret it. Cheers!

Tomato Aspic

Ingredients:  2 cups tomato juice, 1 small lemon jello, 1 tbsp vinegar, onion salt, chopped celery, olives, and green pepper, 1 jello mold.

Tomato Aspic

Directions:  Separate the tomato juice into 2 different 1 cup portions.  Bring one portion to a boil while leaving the other cold while mixing in onion salt to taste.  Add lemon jello and dissolve while stirring.  Add cold tomato juice and vinegar while stirring then add veggies - the amount is up to you.  More veggies = a thicker, crunchier Aspic.  Let mixture cool then add to jello mold and chill for 2 hours or until jello sets.

Wine Pairing and Other Notes:  This recipe is an homage to both of my grandmothers who made this odd dish for years before my parents ever met each other.  Considering I've never really liked this (and neither have my cousins) I'm having a difficult time with the wine pairing, but when in doubt, Sparkling wine usually does the trick due to its high acid and palate-cleansing nature.  Give this organic sparkling wine from McFadden Vineyards a try.  Although this dish isn't my favorite, it looks beautiful in a strange way, reminds me of every Thanksgiving I've ever been a part of, and will always be on my table for Thanksgivings to come.  Cheers!

Remember to check out our Thanksgiving Wine Guide for 2013

By Scott Washburn


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